If you are resident in Japan, you may have heard talk about a new social security number system that was introduced in 2015. Nicknamed “my number” in Japanese, this Individual Number system identifies each resident by a single 12-digit number that will be used to unify records across various government agencies handling matters such as tax and pensions. All foreign residents are included in this system.
What you need to know
Starting May 25, 2020, Individual Number notification letters are sent by recorded mail to each household across Japan. If you are not at home, you will need to arrange for redelivery or pick the letter up from the local delivery centre.
This number should be kept somewhere safe as it will be necessary for a number of administrative procedures in future. Your individual number should be kept secret and not shown to others except when requested by relevant agencies or for identification purposes.
Individual Number Cards
Along with the notification letter, the envelope includes information on application procedures for the Individual Number Card. This optional card includes a photograph, your Individual Number and an optional IC chip and can be used as an ID card. This card allows some residents to apply for certain official documents at convenience stores and fill in tax returns online. This Individual Number Card will replace the Basic Resident Registration Card (not to be confused with the Residence Card for foreign residents).See also: For more information on the Individual Number system in a range of languages, check out the Cabinet Secretariat of Japan website.